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Digital cameras ? need help !

Dale W

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My employer gives gifts for every 5 years of service,this year is my 15 and i'm wanting a digital camera as i always have to borrow one from work.

I asked for a minolta 700i dimage. looks like a very impresive model but i have no knowledge at all when it comes to digital camaras.

Anyone think i'm making a mistake or have any better sugestions ??

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I have onr of the latest Sony digital cameras out and I think it is very nice. The features are excellent and it is very easy to use. Also you can download the pictures very easy from the camera to your PC. It just takes a simple USB cable which was provided with the camera. You might have to buy a larger memory stick though. I am thinking that mine only came with a 16MB stick and I bought a 128MB stick for around $50 or so. I haven't had any trouble with the camera and the batteries last forever! I bet you can take 300 pictures before recharging them. It has a nice power save function that really helps the battery life. I was told not to get a sony, but the features and ease of this camera are a definite plus. I would recommend this camera to anyone.

Hope this helps some. 10.gif


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So, Dale, rejoice... you could live in Daly City which is the foggiest city on the Pacific Coast by actual U.S. meteorological records. In fact, one year long ago when I was about ten, the local service station made book on how many days would be sunny... the winning number 12... 12 out of 365. Hey, stack that up against where you are.

Of course, drive a few miles and your out of the fog bank and into the California sunshine. But then again... how can it be when people will pay over $500,000 for an attached "San Francisco Style" house that is half-a-century old and only 25' wide! And... that is during tough economic times when the nearby Silicon Valley went from lush wages to lost wages. It is a good thing I have been retired this past roller coaster decade. Then again, I was able to arrange a Silicon Valley job for one of my old Texas employees for a position that pays $125,000 plus a 20% annual bonus that is a slam dunk. Of course finding a decent two bedroom rent house to move into close to work cost $2,500 a month! That could pay for a lot of indoor tanning and season CFL tickets.

And, now back to the subject of this thread instead of your other one...

The digital camera question is one of the most exciting one you could ask... and with more rapidly changing answers than any beating of the current audio rear channel conumdrum. I say this as a longtime Nikon and Hasselblad user who has switched to digital for his photo essays.

The key to your question has to do with what level of quality do you requie in your photos. Photos for Internet use can work with a camera that does as few as 2.0 megapixels. If you want some decent 8x10 print outs... think more in terms of 3.3 megapixels. If you are looking for a consumer/pro model to have quality that can outpace 35mm film cameras... think 5.0 megapixels or more.

The quality of CCD's are due for another big jump after the first of the year... but having a wish granted this December certainly has its economic advantages.

One of the primary issues to look for is the sharpness and clarity of photos taken with respect to the effect of heat creating artifact on the CCD. Better cameras use the metal superstructure of the camera as a heat sink to achieve better than average results. Both Smart Media and Compact Flash storage formats have gained great strides. Personally, I use a CF format One Gigabyte IBM hard drive as my primary storage device and a 256MB SM card as a second storage option in a pair of Olympus E-20N's. And, they have earned their keep while technology drives headlong into the unknown hi-tech-night.

An attempt to answer your question requires some price ranges and some idea of how you would seek to use them. The cameras and accessories that I use run into the thousands of dollars... and quite good results can be achieved from digital cameras that are far less costly.

To achieve good utility from your digital camera, having a CD burner and a good photo printer are an added concern for the complete digital photographer. I use a printer that requires museum quality archival substrate and musem quality pigmented archival inks to create musem quality prints beyond the 11" x 17" of most ink jet printers. The ink is rated to not to show signs of fading for 200 years under museum conditions. The results are excellent... but not exacty low cost as an art form.

Canon has come out with a new high speed (47 second) edge-to-edge 4"x6" format with dye based inks... the printer is about $200 and the prints are quite cost effective for the quality they deliver. But my pick for a cost effective printer is Epson's new Stylus 2200 which uses a new set of seven color inks in a high resolution configuration. Each color is an individual cartridge that costs about $10 each. Individual ink cartidges need to be replaced as the color runs out. Most popularly priced color printers have small resevoirs of multiple colored inks... but when any color runs out the cartridge stops working. Expensive and wasteful... and at best a necessary evil! The seven colors are: Cyan, Light Cyan, Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow, Matte Black and Light Black. Dye based inks tend to run when they get wet... pigmented inks are both colorfast and water resistant. Dye based inks can create a much larger color gamut than pigmented inks.

There are many good cameras on the market today... so with a little more description of what you expect in a digital camera, I could give better advice. In the meantime, smile for the snow covered birdie! -HornED

PS: What kind of cameras have you been borrowing from work?

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Dale, If anyone here knows digital cameras, it's Ed. I was fortunate enough to be able to "play" with some of his equipment (mind out of the gutter, you2.gif ) at C&S's Salsa gig. I myself have been into photography for ~35 yrs., settling on Nikon gear, as far as 35mm goes. When I wanted to get a digital camera (mostly for convenience, internet ease, family stuff), I first looked at Nikon, but was put-off by some problems with their optics (of all things), resulting in offensive(to me) chromatic abberation (also known as color fringing),

From the reviews and test results I read, I became drawn to Sony. I bought a DSC-S75, aqnd couldn't be happier with the purchase. Easy for my wife to use, great pictures, the ability to do more exotic manual techniques. As Ed said, your choice depends on what you want to use it for (as well as budget). Here are some review sites that proved helpful in my quest:




Hope this helps!


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Holy crap !!!!

I log off for 2 hours and you boys go right to town !!!

thank you muchly 16.gif

ED : heres the load up on this model : 2/3 type ccd

5.0 megapixel

12-bit A/D conversion

7x optical (28mm-200)

High speed would be nice to try and capture my 4 and 6 year olds as they never sit still unless there eating or sleeping.lol

I do take a lot of action shots with our 35mm as my wife and daughter are into the horse thing and i take my boy to the drag races and monster truck shows ( guy stuff you know).

You can get a better description than i can provide as far as the tech aspect, from minoltas web page.

I'm over my head on this one : thanx DALE

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Let me jump in here with a few questions, if you will?

I plan on going out this weekend to pick up a digital camera. My goal was just to post some pictures on ebay, since I need to get rid of some of my audio stuff that I don't intend on using.

But, it might be nice to print an occasional 8x10

and a photo on this forum. It sounds like I need at least 3 megapixels for the 8x10,and A USB port.

I recently bought Paint Shop Pro 7, a photo editing software program that I need to learn how to use.

I thought I could buy a camera for anound $200.00, but after looking in my local paper tonight I see that won't happen. I guess you pay per megapixel.

Any suggestions for a camera for $400.00 and under. I can't justify going higher then that for what I want to use it for. What elce should I look for, or actually need? Remember that I know very little about computers, so an easy to use camera will be helpfull.


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You just HAVE to look at the DSC-S85. You can find them for $450. 4.1 megapixel. this is about a year or more old, the model, so there are newer and better ones out there, but this is a good one to check out. fini got the S75 and loves it. I have the S85 and love it as well.

fugi makes some really good digital cameras... actually, they make a Nikon D1 clone that is really good! however... the battery life is HORRENDOUS

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Horn Ed and I have had some debates on this subject.

My position is that I just take occasional pictures to post on the internet and the results get transferred to any number of computers. Therefore, I'm quite happy with 1.2 megapixel Sony Mavica which writes to a built in floppy. It also has a memory stick for saving more, bigger pictures.

So, maybe this would be enough for Q-Man. On the other hand, there is no getting away from the fact that one has to learn the computer programs to manipulate the image and print it, or send it.

I'm in agreement with Ed in some ways. If you want high resolution, comparable to film, the little old Mavica doesn't cut it.


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Dale,<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

The Minolta DiMAGE 7i is an excellent camera. I initially considered it (along with the Olympus E-20), but ultimately opted for a digital SLR instead (Canon D-60).

As others have hinted, the move into the digital realm can become expensive. The cost of accessories can far exceed the purchase of the camera itself, but Im sure this is something you have already considered. I would however suggest several things. First, make sure you have money to invest in a decent memory card or stick. For the 5 megapixel Minolta, I would suggest getting something no less than 128mb (3 megapixel and above can be memory hogs). Second, consider looking into what battery source your intended camera will use. The LCDs on many cameras can consume huge amounts of power in a short amount of time. This can be expensive if the camera/batteries dont have recharge options. Third, if you plan on making decent quality photo prints, ensure you have a color printer with 2400 x 1200 DPI or better (avoid the gimmicks many printers have like the LCD screen attached to the printer its a waste of money). Lastly, find a decent quality photo processing software. I have Photoshop 7.0, but its a little pricey and for most users is not really necessary. There is an abundant selection of software available that cost less $100. In my opinion, taking a photo is only half the battle. The real work (or pleasure) is in the processing, so it pays big dividends to learn the features of the processing software you intend to use.

I've attached several photos of some pictures I took this evening. I didnt spend that much time playing around with lighting and camera settings, but the subject is colorful and detailed enough to pose a challenge to most cameras. Limited photo processing was done to each.

First photo was done with my D-60. Im still a novice with this monster, so I havent figure a way to neutralize the harsh flash. (Note: photo resized to 28% of the original to allow quick web download)


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Third photo is same subject but taken with my Olympus Camedia 3040 (3.2 megapixel). The 3040 is a great point and shoot camera. It has slight chromatic abberation, but overall exceeded my expectations. I have some great Civil War shots of Fredericksburg battlefield to show off camera capabilites, but unfortunately is not load on this computer.


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Last photo is a night shot of Bourbon Street in New Orleans French Quarter. I took this picture last week. Aperture size is extremely important if you intend to shoot photos in periods of limited visibility. Many of the cute little cameras available at department stores are not capable of decent night shots.


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Well you guys all sound like professionals to me. I am more of a snapper. About 2 years ago I picked up a Sony DSP A1 (I think). Anyway it is a small camera that takes 3.3 Mpixel shots in its best mode. I bought the optional 64 Mb smart stick thing as well (the biggest there was at the time) and that fits around 40-45 of the best quality pictures on it (in JPEG format). It also can take pictures in a very high quality mode (TIFF I think) but I never use that.

For me digital had a bunch of advantages the main ones being:

1. I already had a computer and a nice printer (Deskjet 930C) and both paint shop pro and a few other photo editing packages.

2. I am one of the world's worst photographers - about 1 in 5 of the photos I take are actually any good - the digital camera lets me delete the bad ones on the spot. This means that whilst my capacity is only 45 shots that is 45 good shots or about 8 rolls of film for me.

3. By taking all shots at the highest resolution I can then create cut down shots for posting on the web. All the photos of the baby (http://groups.msn.com/BatMax1photos/thebaby.msnw) were taken with this camera. As you can see if you visit the site some of them arent half bad considering my skill level, with the added bonus that I have high quality printable ones at home on the hard disk and backed up to CD for emergencies.

4. Automation. I can allow the camera to make all the obscure decisions for me (like aperture, shutter speed and so on) to maximise the chances of getting it right, but, if I am feeling adventurous I can turn some things off (like the automatic flash) and take a bit more of an active role in messing up a shot.

There are still some issues. The first one is paper. The best photo paper for my printer is not a silky smooth one but one that feels a little grainy to the touch. That paper is a bugger to find here so I often use the smooth paper which is not as good.

I generally print my photo's full page on A4 (slightly longer and very slightly wider than letter) and they can come out great although not always as I expect them to appear from what is on screen.

The other issues surround the camera itself. The flash is a bit weak for indoor shots and in fact generally the camera takes much better shots outdoors in daylight. Repeated shots with the flash take a while.

One major benefit of the digital camera is the ability to take quick video's (320 * 240 @ 15 fps). I do, now, have a dedicated digital video camera, but I caught the birth of my child with the still camera as I didnt then.

Later on - when I got the digital video camera and all the software that came with it I managed to put together a half hour video CD incorporating video from the video camera, video from the still camera, stills from the still camera, a bunch of transitions and effects and a soundtrack (MP3 ripped from a CD of the Rach 3 piano concerto). I must say I was very proud of the result!!

Whilst the quality of the video from the video camera was slightly better quality there wasnt much in it.

Right now I am planning on getting a faster computer for the video stuff. My trusty 500 MHz Pentium 3 is creaking at the seams trying to cope with gigabit video stream editing and I am seriously short on diskspace!!

Frankly as disappointing as some of us find digital for audio it is absolutely the best thing when it comes to video and photos!!

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I tried to upload a photo, but got this message:

Active Server Pages error 'ASP 0113'

Script timed out


The maximum amount of time for a script to execute was exceeded. You can change this limit by specifying a new value for the property Server.ScriptTimeout or by changing the value in the IIS administration tools.

What the hell?


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